Holiday Gift Ideas for a Senior Loved One with Dementia

Holiday Gift Ideas for a Senior Loved One with Dementia

Holiday Gift Ideas for a Senior Loved One with Dementia

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Holiday Gift Ideas for a Senior Loved One with Dementia

Do you have someone with dementia on your holiday shopping list this year? Don't be worried about finding the perfect present. We have a guide to help you choose something appropriate that will bring them joy.

Our holiday gift guide for older adults with dementia is categorized by the stages of the disease. Whether you're looking for something personal, practical, or in between, we've got a gift idea for you


Gifts for People with Early Stage Dementia

“In the early stage of Alzheimer's, most people function independently. He or she may still drive, take part in social activities, volunteer, and even work,” says the Alzheimer’s Association. So while they may do things differently or may need some extra help with things, their day-to-day lives may not change significantly.  

Potential gifts for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may include:

  • Games and puzzles

  • Brain teasers, word searches, and other activity books

  • Crafts

  • CDs and music

  • Television shows and movies

  • A family photo album, calendar, scrapbook

  • An Amazon Echo, Apple Homepod Mini, Google Nest, or another smart speaker

  • A tablet for keeping in touch with friends and family members

  • A smartphone pre-programmed with the photos and contact information of family members and friends

  • A houseplant

  • A family tree

An added benefit of getting a mind-stimulating gift for someone with early-stage Alzheimer’s: Research suggests that it can slow the progression of the disease while boosting cognition.


Gifts for People with Middle Stage Dementia

“During the middle stages of Alzheimer's, damage to the brain can make it difficult to express thoughts and perform routine tasks. You may notice the person with Alzheimer's jumbling words, having trouble dressing, getting frustrated or angry, or acting in unexpected ways, such as refusing to bathe,” says the Alzheimer’s Association.

In addition to holiday gifts that stimulate memory and help them feel connected with the world around them, appropriate presents may also be designed to support your aging loved one’s independence and autonomy.

Potential ideas include the following:


Gifts for People with Late Stage Dementia

“As the disease advances, the needs of the person living with Alzheimer's will change and deepen. A person with late-stage Alzheimer's usually has difficulty eating and swallowing; needs assistance walking and eventually is unable to walk; needs full-time help with personal care,” says the Alzheimer’s Association.

As such, appropriate gifts may be those aimed at supporting your loved one’s comfort, including the following:

  • A warm bathrobe

  • A soft throw, weighted blanket, or photo blanket

  • Comfortable, specialized clothing for dressing and undressing with ease

  • A stuffed animal, doll, or “pet

  • Scented lotion

  • Favorite foods

Also, keep in mind that many of the personalized gifts listed for people with early-stage Alzheimer's are also suitable for people with middle- and late-stage dementia, as they can continue to enjoy these things through the ongoing changes.

Gifts that center on reminiscence are relevant for people at all stages of the disease. For example, if your loved one grew up in the 1950s, you could give them a themed gift with music from that era, including a favorite song or artist, family photos from that time period, and pictures of celebrities, clothing, or places they lived or traveled to from that era of their life.

More tips:
The holidays are a special time of year for the gathering of friends and family.
Ease your worries with these stress-less tips for care partners

Just because a loved one has dementia doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the holiday season. These gifts can help spread joy while enriching the quality of life for recipients with dementia. And remember that the most meaningful gifts of all for people with Alzheimer’s disease cost nothing: Time with loved ones.

Spending time going for a walk in a favorite location, playing a game, singing familiar songs, preparing and enjoying a meal together, working on a craft together, looking through scrapbooks or photos, laughing, and enjoying the day with each other is the best gift of all.


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Kristin Davenport

Kristin Davenport

Kristin Davenport is the Director of Communications for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Kristin leads ERS’s efforts to share stories that delight and inspire through social media, online content, annual reports, magazines, newsletters, public re... Read More >

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